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Blaming comics for societal failure…

Comic books as a hobby spanned many age groups but the primary focus of the nation was what children could/were reading. After World War II a return to normalcy included a return of the idea of childhood innocence. Meanwhile the new generation had grown up during a war, with news reels in movie theatres, and their fathers sent overseas. They had already grown up to fast and after the war, pandering to their simplicity through a basic super hero plot line, would not be enough to sell comic books, as publishers soon discovered. Publishers would have been fine continuing to create “childish” material had the market allowed but art goes where its buyers go and so the industry “wrote up” not an in attempt to pander, but in an attempt to follow the trends in a post war market.

Crime fiction began to sell because of its mature subject matter. Had superhero’s featured more dastardly villains or maybe even more moral ambiguities, they might have been more popular. Children were being reverted back to second class citizenship as their mothers where pushed back to their homes and fathers into their jobs, so crime fiction gave them a gruesome escape from their pigeonhole. In the Crime fiction stories, they described real crimes and schemes of crazy men and women who where all eventually caught by the law. While justice prevailed, it’s the gruesome descriptions and images of the crime that supposedly disturbed a young, easily influenced mind.

Censors and adults could control what children learned in school but it was much harder to control their interests or after school activities. Child psychologists, concerned parents and government officials decided to go after mass media, blaming it for children who act out. Comic books took a rather unique role in that they succumbed to the censorship comparatively easier than other industries did. But like the film industry, comics created their own censorship board which they could eventually pay off for artistic purposes.

I believe that comics did not influence a degradation in society but rather reacted to one, and for that matter, was society really failing? My main point being that censoring comic books did little to help influence society, but it did destroy the


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